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January 11, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

In a move designed to lessen its dependence on hardware manufacturing, Control Data’s Systime Computers Ltd of Leeds has set up a new division, named Systime Technologies, which is to shift its central effort onto the development and supply of strategic software tools for system houses, consultancies, and blue chip government installations. Managing director and chief executive of Systime Peter Barron said that the company had realised at the end of 1986 that it could no longer afford to be a long term developer of Unix boxes, with the porting of layered software products necessary to support them seen as too expensive. So whilst the company launched its own 32-user 80386 machine in May 1987 it also introduced a 96-user box rebadged from Computer Consoles Inc as the 3-100, and later on in the year announced a partnership with Altos Computer Systems, allowing it to supply the Altos Series 2000 as its 3-400 64-user system. At the Which Computer? Show this month, Systime is tipped to announce a further deal with Altos, for the supply of the new low-end Series 1000 supermicro (see below). Barron sees the future of Systime centering around what he terms enabling resources, pointing to existing products such as the Trans-Basic emulation product to help DEC PDP-11 users migrate to Unix, and the recently launched PC-Connect MS-DOS-to-Unix tool as examples – characterising them as tools designed to provide the skills and resources to companies looking to implement their own information technology strategy, with the hardware element seen as less significant – Unix boxes are two a penny. Systime Technologies is currently spending ?1m on further software developments, with a central team of 15 people at the company’s headquarters in Leeds. Although Systime did not achieve the overall profitability it had hoped for in 1987, Barron says that sales took a 40% leap in the fourth quarter, and he is expecting that rate of growth to continue.

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